The term atypical depression is generally applied to disorders of moderate clinical severity. The meaning of the term has varied over the years but currently it is applied to disorders characterized by:
- Variably depressed mood with mood reactivity to positive events.
- Overeating and oversleeping
- Extreme fatigue and heaviness in the limbs.
- Pronounced anxiety
Many patients with these clinical symptoms have a life long tendency to react in an exaggerated way to percieve or real rejection (rejection sensitivity). The imporatnce of recognizing atypical depression is that, because of their interpersonal sensitivity patients with this disorder can be hard to manage and may be regarded as having 'difficult' personalities rather than depressive disorders. Also atypical depression seems to be associated with a poor response to tricyclic antidepressant treatment but a better response to monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) and perhaps to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
Atypical depression is a variation of depression that is slightly different from major depression. The sufferer is sometimes able to experience happiness and moments of elation. Symptoms of atypical depression include fatigue, oversleeping, overeating and weight gain. People who suffer from atypical depression believe that outside events control their mood (i.e. success, attention and praise). Episodes of atypical depression can last for months or a sufferer may live with it forever.